7.0/10
39,361
236 user 85 critic

The Towering Inferno (1974)

Trailer
2:12 | Trailer
At the opening party of a colossal, but poorly constructed, office building, a massive fire breaks out that threatens to destroy the tower and everyone in it.

Director:

John Guillermin

Writers:

Richard Martin Stern (novel), Thomas N. Scortia (novel) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
3,344 ( 455)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve McQueen ... Chief O'Halloran
Paul Newman ... Doug Roberts
William Holden ... Jim Duncan
Faye Dunaway ... Susan
Fred Astaire ... Harlee Claiborne
Susan Blakely ... Patty
Richard Chamberlain ... Simmons
Jennifer Jones ... Lisolette
O.J. Simpson ... Jernigan
Robert Vaughn ... Senator Parker
Robert Wagner ... Dan Bigelow
Susan Flannery ... Lorrie
Sheila Allen ... Paula Ramsay (as Sheila Mathews)
Norman Burton ... Giddings (as Normann Burton)
Jack Collins ... Mayor Ramsay
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Storyline

Doug Roberts, Architect, returns from a long vacation to find work nearly completed on his skyscraper. He goes to the party that night concerned he's found that his wiring specifications have not been followed and that the building continues to develop short circuits. When the fire begins, Michael O'Halleran is the chief on duty as a series of daring rescues punctuate the terror of a building too tall to have a fire successfully fought from the ground. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You are there on the 135th floor, no way down, no way out. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The longest of the 1970s disaster flicks. See more »

Goofs

The "main generator" is said to be "blown" Besides it being nearly impossible to "blow" a generator simply by running it (it would more likely seize up due to inadequate lubrication or bearing failure) the system shown is clearly NOT a generator as it has a belt shroud and belt drive that a generator wouldn't need. See more »

Quotes

[to Duncan after hearing about Giddings on the phone]
Doug Roberts: Will Giddings is dead. He died twenty minutes ago.
[pause]
Doug Roberts: Oh, boy. Ohh! I wonder how many more will be dead by tomorrow.
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Crazy Credits

The 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures logos don't appear in the beginning. See more »

Alternate Versions

Television Versions of the movie start with an alternate opening. Instead of the camera facing the helicopter at the left, the camera is on top of the helicopter, in view of the rocks that the helicopter will go over. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Meteor Storm (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

The Morning After
(uncredited)
Written by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
Played at the party when Roberts is first reporting the fire to Duncan
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User Reviews

 
The crowning glory of a much maligned genre.

A newly built state of the art high-rise is hosting a big society gathering when a fire starts up on the 81st floor...

Warner Brothers & 20th Century Fox were both keen to cash in on the success of 1972s The Poseidon Adventure, Warner's buying the rights to The Tower, and Fox buying the rights to The Glass Inferno, both novels about burning skyscrapers and seemingly ripe for a big screen adaptation. Enter producer Irwin Allen who smartly suggested that both studios should come together and produce one blockbusting genre defining film. Splitting the cost down the middle, The Towering Inferno was born and went on to make over $100 million across the globe, a very impressive take for its time, and certainly a shot in the arm for disaster genre enthusiasts.

The Towering Inferno is far from flawless, it contains some cheese sodden dialogue, and the film's running time doesn't quite do the film any favours. However, the film's strengths far outweigh the handful of negatives that are often used to beat it up with. The sets are fabulous (Academy Award Nominated) and all to perish in the fire, the cinematography from Fred J Koenekamp (Academy Award Winner) is lush and puts the fire in the eyes, while the score from John Williams (Academy Award Nominated) is suitably poignant and edgy. What about the action sequences? The set pieces? With many of the illustrious cast doing their own stunts! All impacting sharp on the ears thanks to the brilliant sound from Soderberg & Lewis (Academy Award Nominated), with the cast itself a reminder of a wonderful time when only the big names were considered for the big projects, McQueen, Newman, Holden, Astaire (Academy Award Nominated) & Dunaway rolling off the tongue like a who's who of entertainment heavyweights.

Some say that The Towering Inferno finally killed off the ailing disaster genre, no it didn't, it crowned it, and all the others that followed were merely trailing in its wake. The Towering Inferno is a spectacular production that positively booms with high entertainment values, no expense is spared in the pursuit of entertaining the masses, it's thoughtful in texture and it teaches as it plays and it remains to me a wonderful archaic gem. 9/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 December 1974 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

The Towering Inferno See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$116,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$116,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| 4-Track Stereo (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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